Spending an extended time out of the country with your family can reap untold rewards.

Learn a new language, gain a greater understanding of unfamiliar cultures, create stronger family bonds - all this and more may result from a family sabbatical abroad. Sound appealing? From blogs to books, a plethora of options help set your plan in motion.

Here are five.

Living abroad

on a budget

"The Family Sabbatical Handbook: The Budget Guide to Living Abroad With Your Family" by Elisa Bernick (The Intrepid Traveler, 2007) is a how-to guide for parents who would like to live abroad with their children for three months or more.

It covers the nuts-and-bolts information parents need, such as: how to finance your adventure; sorting out schools, visas and health care; and handling culture and language differences.

There is even a section on gearing up for the return home.

www.intrepidtraveler.com./media/ backlist.html.

Learn and go

Inspired by what they learned and observed traveling around the globe and living abroad with their university-professor father, two brothers, ages 11 and 13, decided they wanted to make a difference.

Brady and Sam Ettenson worked for four years to create a world geography brain-puzzle book called "Knock, Knock . . . Where Am I?" (2009).

Besides bringing the family together for fun learning, the boys say they believe "the book can help foster a better understanding of other countries and cultures."


Seek an Italian remedy

After 18 years of marriage, Susan Pohlman was ready to toss in the towel on her Southern California suburban life.

She and her husband shed their material possessions, pulled their two children close and moved to Italy in search of a slower pace and the chance to save their marriage, which was seriously frayed by the hectic pace of American life.

"Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home" (Guideposts, 2009) offers hope to readers who yearn to embrace a rich new beginning.


Bond on the bike

In the summer of 2008, the Vogel family hopped on their bikes to begin a 2 1/2-year journey traveling on two wheels (apiece) from Alaska to Argentina.

The parents are supporting their 11-year-old twin sons in their effort to set a new world record.

If they complete the journey, Davy and Daryl will be the youngest people to have cycled the entire Pan-American Highway. Learn from their trials and tribulations on their multifaceted blog.


Go global

In Maya Frost's book, "The New Global Student" (Three Rivers Press, 2009), and on her Web site, you'll discover a fresh way to look at the role education plays in helping students prepare for adulthood.

Frost shows readers how living and learning abroad can save the entire family money, raise the adventure quotient and best prepare young people for a global marketplace.


Lynn O'Rourke Hayes is editor of FamilyTravel.com: